Reason why I am not an avid user of contact less payment


During the month of April and May, Singapore saw a wave of introduction of contactless payment by Apple, Samsung and Android. As with the introduction of new solutions, “carrots” (incentives) were given by the card issuing banks to entice users to hop onto the bang wagon.  The incentives given were tabulated and analysed by the talented bloggers. I think one of the more popular one is here by The Milelion.

Why am I am not using it?
Personally, I am using a Samsung android phone which allows me to use either Samsung Pay and the Android Pay. Although I have registered for both of them, I have not made a conscious effort to use them.

The main reason why I use credit cards is to maximise rebates and rewards points for my purchase of goods and services. Based on my own understanding of the rebates and rewards system (and thanks to this crowdsourced list started by “lcpteck” on Hardwarezone Forums, I have a rough idea of which credit card will enable me to reap the most rebates for my purchases.

Using my phone to make a contactless payment will add more hassle to my purchase. There were a couple of hiccups when I tried to use them. In one case, there was an issue with the fingerprint recognition for Samsung Pay. In another case, one retailer only accepted Android Pay, but my default payment app was Samsung Pay. The examples stated are also a case of user problem that is associated with new solution.

However, these inconveniences in the short run only gives me the short-term rewards in terms of the “carrots” dangled. In the long run, there is no tangible benefits for me to use them when there is no more carrots.

What I think should be done?

Personally, I think the use of contactless payments must value-add to the user experience. There are few features, which I term them as ITR features which I think will help to attract credit card users to use contactless payment in the long run.

Feature 1: INFORM Merchant Category Code (MCC)
I believe that one of the biggest issue which many credit card users have is about the MCC of the retailer or service provider. Credit card rebates and rewards are awarded according to the MCC of the retailer. I always refer to this crowdsourced list started by “lcpteck” to do a check, but I will be lost if the merchant is not in the list.

So, I hope that with contactless payment, I will be informed of the MCC of the retailer when I “tap”. Afterwhich, I can select the credit card which I want to use to pay.

Feature 2: TRACK credit card purchases
Some credit cards requires a certain amount to be spent within the calendar or statement month in order to meet requirements for higher rebates or rewards (eg OCBC 365, Citibank Cash Back) and / or attain higher interest for bank account (eg OCBC 360 account, UOB One account). Therefore, it would be good to have the transactions tracked

Feature 3: RECOMMEND credit card to use
Given that credit card user is already informed and transactions tracked, it would be good that they are also given recommendation on which credit card to use before they make a purchase. The user preferences can be pre-configured.  For example, I may be about to make a purchase at Mothercare. My main credit card is OCBC 365 credit card and I have already met the $600 required for the higher rebates and the $500 required for higher interest my OCBC 360 account. It would be good that before I make the purchase, I would be given a recommendation to use the Citibank Rewards credit card because it will earn 10x rewards instead of the paltry 0.3% cash rebate from the OCBC 365 credit card.


I believe that the emergence of Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay is a good start. But for now, without the ITR features mentioned above, I do not forsee myself paying with Samsung Pay or Android Pay.   How about you?



Avoiding Standard Chartered’s minimum commission for online equities trading

Standard Chartered (SC) announced in early June 2016 that it will start to charge a minimum commission with effect from 1st August 2016. When this news was announced, I can imagine that moan of those who are using this platform for dollar-cost-averaging (DCA) investing. If you would like to find out more about the changes,  you can find more details here (SC’s website), here (Yahoo News) and here (Investment Moats).

Only change is commission, SC is still not charging for custody fee
While there is a minimum commission, there is no change to the zero custody fees. This is the saving grace and I still think it is a strong selling point for Singapore investors who invest in overseas market.

My reaction: sign up for SC Priority Banking
I had been thinking of signing up for SC Priority Banking status for the slightly cheaper trading commissions. However, it does not make sense for me to park my cash in SC accounts because of the much higher interest from accounts such as the OCBC 360 and UOB One accounts.

With SC’s announcement, there was an impetus for me to sign up for SC’s Priority Banking status. In order to qualify for SC’s Priority Banking status, one has to have SGD 200,000 AUM with SC and this includes the equities under the custody for SC’s online equities trading platform. So, I transferred my cash into my SC bank account and went down to one of the branches to sign up.

So, what it means to be a SC Priority Banking customer?
Well, there will not be a minimum commission for all my trades on SC online equities platform. Another plus is that I get to see “Priority Banking” logo when I log into SC internet banking.

… a letter informing you of the Priority Banking status

… a SC Priority Banking Visa Infinite credit card

…. a Priority Pass that comes with the SC Priority Banking Visa Infinite credit card
it comes with unlimited Priority Pass lounge access for principal card holder.
Priority Pass looks better than the Priority Pass from my DBS Altitude Visa and Citi Premiermiles Visa

….. and additional perks from SC 360 Rewards programme
need to spend at least SGD500 on the SC Priority Banking Visa Infinite card to use earn additional 360 Rewards points

So, how many of you also signed up for SC Priority Banking status to avoid the minimum commission?
If not, what are the alternatives that you choose? Please share with me in the comments section!